This grilled chicken recipe comes out juicy and tender simply by using a dry rub or marinating it.
This recipe is easy to make and great for a hot summer day when you don’t want to cook inside. What I like about grilled chicken is how you can really customize it to your own flavor preferences. If you don’t want to mess around with a marinade and all of that, You can rub it down with a mixture of seasonings and let it absorb into the chicken.
Table of Contents
Why you will love this grilled chicken
Grilling chicken always seemed so intimidating when I was a beginner griller, even as a seasoned griller, but honestly, it’s easier than you might think. With a few tips, you’ll wonder why you
- Used in many ways: grilled chicken has so much potential can be used as left overs for another meal, can be used in a BBQ chicken salad, or chopped up and put into salad mixture for a delicious sandwich.
- Simple and delicious: With a few tips and techniques, you will have a juicy and moist chicken, no matter if you use a breast or a thigh. I find that sometimes grilled chicken dries out on the BBQ. Not with this recipe, though.
- Easy: to prepare on those hot days or those days where you want something that comes together with a few delicious sides and dinner is ready.
Cuts of Chicken for Grilling
In out kitchen we like to use all kinds of cuts of chicken everything from a chicken breast to a chicken wing or a whole chicken.
- Breast For me, this is always my go-to cut of chicken; it’s lean and perfect for topping salad.
- Legs I like to use chicken legs when I’m feeding a crowd of people because they’re a little less expensive, easy to grill, and super flavorful.
- Thighs The nice thing about a thigh is the skin; it will go nice and crispy on the outside but remain nice and juicy and moist inside.
- Wings I like to marinate my chicken wings and then place them on the grill, but you can also place a dry rub on them and they will be delicious.
- Whole Chicken You heard me right: BBQ a whole chicken seems intimidating, but it’s actually easier than you think to grill.
The ingredients for Grilled Chicken
- Chicken You can use your favorite cut of chicken for this recipe. I will be using chicken breast, but any of the cuts above will work.
- Chicken Marinade No matter the type of marinade you choose, it will create the juiciest and most flavorful meat. If you don’t have a favorite marinade, you can use this one or combine olive oil, lemon juice, and any of your favorite herbs and spices like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and rosemary. These are all great choices for your marinade.
- Dry Rub an alternative to a marinade is a dry rub a mixture of these spices and herbs:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Coconut sugar or brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Ground chipotle powder
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground mustard seed
- Table salt
- Ground pepper
How to Grill chicken
- Combine your wet marinade or mix together your dry rub herbs and spices in a small bowl.
- Pound the chicken if you’re using a chicken cut without the bone pounding it will make sure that it cooks at an even temperature you want the middle to be as thick as the ends.
- Poke holes with a fork all over all over the chicken this will help the marinade to absorb in quicker.
- Marinade add the chicken to a freezer bag with the marinade and marinade at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 5-6 hours.
- Cook when you’re ready to cook the chicken, clean and oil the grill grates, and heat the grill to medium-high 375°F to 450°F. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165° with a digital thermometer
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to grill chicken?
The amount of time you need to cook a grilled chicken without it becoming dry will vary depending on the size of the cut of chicken you are using. This is why I like to use a chicken breast because no matter the size you can pound it out thinly.
Small Chicken Breasts (6- to 8 ounces each): 7 to 8 minutes
Medium Chicken Breasts (8- to 10 ounces each): 8 to 12 minutes
Large Chicken Breasts (10 ounces or more): 14 minutes or longer
How should chicken be cooked on the grill?
Yes, a grill pan works very well. Heat the pan over medium heat and add oil to prevent it from sticking. Cook the chicken for 3–5 minutes on each side until fully cooked. If you have a thicker piece of chicken, reduce the heat to medium.
Why Would your Chicken be Tough?
If your chicken is coming out tough it might have been cooked to high in temperature, next time try cooking your chcken more slowly over lower heat. When chicken becomes blackened to quickly on the outside it hasn’t had time to cook all the way through. Low and slow is always a better way to go forward then hot and fast. If your chicken is cooked perfectly inside but still seems tough it may have been cooked to long on the grill and most likely overcooked
The Best Grilled Chicken
- 3 medium chicken breasts
- 1 batch marinade see notes
- chopped fresh herbs
- oil for the grill
- Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board (leave several inches between them and work in batches as needed). Cover with plastic wrap to keep things tidy, and with a meat mallet, and rolling pin, pound the chicken to an even thickness. It doesn't need to be ultra-thin—just ensure the middle is pretty even with the ends (the chicken should be about 1/2-inch thick).
- With a fork, poke holes all over the chicken (this will allow the marinade to absorb).
- In a large ziplock bag, combine the marinade ingredients, then add the chicken.
- Seal the bag to coat the chicken with the marinade evenly. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate it to marinate for up to 8 hours (5 to 6 hours is ideal).
- When ready to grill, preheat the grill to high (475 degrees F). If your chicken has been in the refrigerator, remove it and allow it to come to room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grates.
- Place the chicken on the grill presentation (smooth) side down, shaking off any excess marinade. Cover the grill and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, then flip. The chicken should lift easily off the grill; if it sticks, allow it to cook another minute or two.
- Chicken is considered done at 165 degrees F. I like to remove chicken from the grill around the 155-160 degrees F mark and allow it to finish cooking while resting. DO NOT OVERCOOK, or your chicken will be dry.
- Place the chicken on a plate and let rest for at least 5 minutes (resting is mandatory!). Add any desired toppings or sauces. Enjoy!